Interesting discussion (now shelved) on my post “literally name-calling” the other tribe over at PrayTell. It’s tempting to get into a he-said/she-said tit-for-tat. If the accusation is that my blog is provocative, I plead guilty. But I see nothing wrong or out of place about that. Those familiar with Latin will know that the roots of the word imply it is favorable to use one’s voice or calling. I’m in favor of people expressing their opinions. Very much so.
Like it or not, many Catholic groups have the rep for being angry. Where individuals are concerned, that may be well-deserved or blatantly unfair. It’s human life–it happens.
One personal example: I’ve played guitar for Catholic liturgy since my college days. I’ve also known the scorn of people who assumed I was a musical simpleton, a three-chord strummer, or that I had no background in classical music, or the like. It used to be annoying, but now it happens hardly at all. People make generalizations and assumptions, and they make errors, often based on their own limited personal experience. My sense of that experience was to keep my head down, play music as I’ve been asked, and most often, the detractors just hush themselves.
Jeffrey Tucker, to give one example, is one reform2 person I’ve come to know through the exchange of e-mails and some very invigorating chats online. I read his internet writings with an appreciation for the man behind the words. I don’t think of him as the mainstream of not-so-happy Catholicism.
Other reform2 people–not so much. Many still strike me as nurturing some chord of bitterness–how else would I explain their bile directed at all sorts of Catholic church musicians … of other styles and genres–people they don’t even know, and hardly bother to understand.
If we’re misdiagnosing applying labels as name-calling, I have no problem pleading guilty there, too. People identify themselves in groups, with labels, and as certain tribes, clans, and whatnot all the time. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as the people conversing understand the limits. So if PrayTell’s traditional-leaning commenters have a problem with specific things I’ve said or written–not some “literal” interpretation or offense-taken, let me know. Unlike other web sites, people who take exception to my commentary won’t be banned. Open discussion is welcome and available here. And I’m quite happy about that. You can keep it private, too. I do not adhere to the so-called Welborn protocol. Private correspondence is private.
If we’re also misdiagnosing analysis or commentary as name-calling, then what I do is hardly different from any other of the millions of internet commentators. I’m open to better ideas as to why otherwise cultured and fruitful church musicians would behave in such an openly uncharitable and unprofessional manner, to name one prominent example. I’m not going after your jobs, your musical livelihood, or tattling to your pastor or spouse or your bishop. I don’t work that way, not even as an exercise in Biblical justice.